Like a lock-down superhero

So many people seem to be struggling under Coronavirus Lock-down situations across the globe. And I’m one of them. My mental health is taking a battering. Not a start-to-tidy-up-my-affairs-and-post-a-youtube-goodbye kind of battering, more a I’m-going-to-throw-away-all-my-socks-because-wearing-socks-is-a-social-construct-and-besides-then-I-can-buy-and-wear-all-new-socks kind of battering. There may be only the slimmest of margins between the two, frankly.

But really, overall, I’m bossing it. My children are doing beautifully under their home schooling curriculum. My four-year-old has finally taken the strides from letter recognition to confident word reader. (His older brother learned to read at two, for which YouTube and he receive absolutely all of the credit. This one is all me his mother, though.) My older son has gone up several months in his maths. I don’t really know what else a nine-year-old who’s been reading since he was two needs to know, though, so he’s honestly probably falling behind in absolutely everything else. But whatever, he’ll smash those year 6 SATs next year. Which is what education is all about. (Don’t worry, I had to clean up the mess after I said that and was sick. I’ve paid for it.)

At work, we’re leading the charge. I’m not likely to go into much detail, but an IT department in a school is doing exactly the kind of rewarding work I envisioned when I chose to step out of the commercial sector.

And now, at the OU, I’m absolutely on top of things. (Note: By “on top of things” I mean I’m not drowning by having a cliff dropped on top of me. Right now, it feels like being on top of things.) Both of my modules with EMAs are continuing mostly as normal, and both of them have sub-projects to complete next week before the actual EMA.

For TM257, instead of the day school, we’re getting a packet tracer activity, instead. I’ve submitted it and got full marks except a single portion that … doesn’t make any sense as written. It’s been made clear to the module chair that marks are being dropped because the question is unintelligible, rather than assessing the learning outcomes, but that didn’t seem to reach. Still, 90% isn’t bad, and I’ve still got half the EMA to go.

For TT284, there’s a (very small) portion of a project plan that needs to be submitted several weeks early. Whoever thought of this, my hat’s off to them. Because there are marks for it, students will take planning their project seriously. Because there are so few marks for it, their success or failure won’t hinge on the quality of the plan. It just drives home the importance of actually having a plan to complete on time. It’ll be hard to argue that we weren’t prepared for how much effort we’d need to put in.

The one thing that’s really getting me, though, is how little time I have left over. Parent, employee, teacher … We’re all struggling with fulfilling all these roles right now. But there’s a deadline on self-improvement for some of us, and that deadline was determined when nothing like this seemed possible. It’s just … Much.

And while I was thinking about that, I realised that there are tens of thousands of others doing exactly what I’m doing at the same university. So I reached out to some of them. There’s a Discord server that acts as the home of the OUSA’s STEM club. I guess. Iunno. It’s not on the OUSA’s list of clubs. Maybe they’re rogue. Either way, I went to see if they understood what I’m going through, and realised that I understand what they’re going through. I found my peoples. I didn’t know I had peoples.

If I’m honest (which … probably not) I’m probably going to stick around just until I get the green light to leave my house again. Which I won’t do, I love being stuck in my house. But I can then send my family out of my house and have a few minutes to breathe and I can stop sharing my study desk with my work. But it’s really helped my stress levels this week to run into others who are going through it, too. Their invite link is at http://oucr.club/ if anybody else wants a very relaxed, friendly chat with people who get it.

3 comments

    1. Y’know, it took me nearly two months to figure out what I misunderstood on that day school question. I feel like such a dunce, now. I hope my EMA isn’t as bad.

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog so much, ftom a fellow open University IT junior student from Saudi Arabia.
    I’m glad that you have reached out to a healthy supportive space during this crises, I’m so exited to join this disord club but ive checked that link but it’s not working, anyways keep up the good work and I’m sending my best wishes for your little children and your amazing wife

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